Education and Events Manager, Buccleuch Heritage Trust
A teacher by training, Helen has been involved with the Buccleuch Heritage Trust since 1992. Having started out as Education Manager, she gradually moved on to the management of the Trust’s busy yearly event calendar. The Trust is housed in the beautiful estate of Bowhill in the Scottish borders, where the countryside has been managed by the Buccleuch family for generations. Every week the estate attracts a multitude of families from the local area and beyond, all looking to explore the stunning countryside around Bowhill, as well as visiting the historic house, which has one of the best collections of art and fine furniture in Europe. Helen explains that the Trust’s mission is to bridge the gap between the towns and the country; it’s about allowing people to appreciate the beauty of the countryside but also getting them acquainted with the working side of it.
Helen certainly has enough on her plate to keep her constantly busy, but she thoroughly enjoys that. She explains that the recent Clan Scott Gathering, organised as part of Homecoming Scotland 2009, was one of the biggest events ever held on the estate. However, she says, there are family-centered events taking place all the time at Bowhill; anything from themed walks to pond dipping, mini beast hunting or, what she refers to as the ‘tremendous tree event’ in July.
Helen works with a small team of locally-based staff, which includes a countryside ranger, a house manager, a visitor manager and a gardener. She enjoys the fact that no two days are the same at the house, and likes the opportunity to work with different people who have different skill sets. There are also other aspects of her job that Helen thoroughly appreciates: “I can bring my rescue dog Marley to work, which is not something that you can say for most places. I am out and about a lot and he can come with me; otherwise, he sits behind my desk.”
When it comes to arranging First Aid cover for the estate’s busy event schedule, Helen knows that she has peace of mind. St Andrew’s have been involved with the Trust for many decades and the family has always had a link with the organisation. Helen says: “The family have always been very interested in the work of St Andrew’s. They were chosen because of their commitment to community, which is something very important to the estate owners.” The Trust is fully risk assessed for all events but Helen finds it important to know that, in the case of a problem, there is a professional service on hand to deal with it. She also finds the communication with St Andrew’s to be excellent: “We speak to multiple people within the organisation and I can say that if you make an arrangement with someone, you can be sure that the next person you speak to will be up to date with your requests. That’s a real bonus for us.”